Cape Breton hit-and-run victim was retired military man with PTSD

Months after moving home to Nova Scotia for retirement, Jackie Deveau — a man who served his country in war zones — died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Deveau, a 54-year-old Cheticamp man, was hit while walking on Highway 125 near Sydney on Saturday night. The driver of the car didn't stop or call 911. Deveau was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"For the family, we see it as so unfair and so wrong," said Ida LeLievre, Deveau's sister. "What this person did and just to leave him there. I think for us it just adds to the pain."

Police are looking for a grey Volkswagen and the car's driver.

'He loved life and lived to love'

Deveau spent 35 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he finished his career as a master warrant officer, said LeLievre.

"He loved life and lived to love people, his family, his friends. Jackie lived to serve, serve family and friends and country with everything he had and with the best of his ability with great honour and respect," she said.

Deveau was often deployed by ship. He served as a peacekeeper in Kuwait in the 1990s and helped with the cleanup of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1998.

No easy retirement

Deveau and his wife moved back to his hometown of Cheticamp in October to retire.

Deveau's time in the military had left scars and he had PTSD, said LeLievre. She said this was his second bout as he previously had it 24 years ago.

Last Thursday, Deveau went to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney for treatment.

LeLievre said she doesn't know how her brother ended up on the highway on Saturday when he was supposed to be in hospital monitored by staff.

"We'll be looking for answers to our questions over the next few days after the funeral service happens — once the family has had time to get their head around it," she said.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority said it cannot comment on what happened due to privacy concerns. 

'PTSD is not what killed him'

LeLievre is critical of the federal government, who she said has a responsibility to help people suffering from PTSD.

"I feel if the resources and the help for PTSD survivors were better ... my brother would still be alive," she said.

"PTSD is not what killed him, the lack of resources, the lack of knowledge, the lack of what needed to be done is what killed him," she said.